Category Archives: Work Environment

Tracker & Working Units

Recently we have seen inconsistent levels of precision between different work stations. One computer, using the Measure Tool, will show a wall at 10′, another will show it at 10′-0 1/64″ (for example). After a little testing and digging around, we found that Working Units, unlike Dimension Styles and Calculation Units & Rules, are not project specific. However, just like Dimension Styles, Working Units should be set to the highest level of precision possible; that is to the nearest 1/64″.

To check and modify your working units, go to the ARCHICAD menu > Project Preferences > Working Units.

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Model Units Need to be Set to 1/64

If Model Units are set to anything other than 1/64″, there is a high likelihood of dimensions not reflecting intended design dimensions.

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Dimensioned Length Shows 120 1/64″,  Measured Length Shows 120″

Beyond the input precision; be sure you are using actual tracker input, rather than just clicking when the tracker shows the desired length. You can tab through the tracker options with the “tab” key, or direct input short cuts are:

  • ‘r’ = Distance (radial distance)
  • ‘a’ = angle
  • ‘x’ = x distance
  • ‘y’ = y distance
  • ‘z’ = z distance

Use the Shift key before the input to lock direction/angle. It should be second nature at this point to type Shift + R before putting in a distance. You can adjust your work environment to give higher levels of angle. I recommend setting it to every 15º, then use the angle input in the tracker for any angle at smaller increments.

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Work Environment Input Constraints, Set to 15º

 

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3d Style

In ARCHICAD 21, we were introduced to 3d Styles; a new view setting which allows customization of the view style in ARCHICAD. With the introduction of ARCHICAD 22, there are some new 3d Style effects that customize the smoothness and efficiency of 3d navigation and views. These are settings that existing in 21, but we are starting to see an effect of model appearance in 22.

This is especially prominent in high polygon models.

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model while viewing 3d

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model while navigating (explore) 3d

In the examples above, the same model has content “disappear” when using the explore feature of a high polygon model. This is presumably a feature of AC22 to improve navigation and 3d performance.

To prevent content from vanishing, the advanced settings in the 3d styles options need to be tuned. Click the Gear icon in the 3d styles setting next to the 3d Engine fly-out.  In the Advanced > OpenGL Options, cut the frame rate to the lowest setting (1), and the display radius to the highest setting (328′-1 1/64″, for whatever reason).

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Advanced Open GL Options for ideal 3d viewing in AC22

These settings are not new to 22; in fact they are the same defaults out of the box as AC21. But the defaults need to be adjusted to work well with the changes or improvements made to AC22’s 3d processing.

 

Info Box Content

The Info Box is an instrumental palette to the ARCHICAD work environment. There is content in the Info Box that is difficult, if not impossible to adjust anywhere else. A large function of this palette is to give an easy access to each element’s Selection Settings. There are, however, a few items in the Info Box that are not available in the Settings Dialogue. These are the Geometry and Construction Method settings. A handful of element types have these incorporated into the settings dialogue, such as the Geometry Method for the Shell Tool. The Shell Tool has an additional Construction Method that is only available in the Info Box.

The Info Box for all available tools with Palette only content:

The geometry method is useful for a wide range of functions. Wether it is drawing 4 walls with a simply x/y input, setting a shell to rotate a given shape rather than just a dome or arc, or setting your labels to place more precisely with a three point click instead of a simple click and drop in place; the Geometry and Construction method settings only available in the Info Box will help model more quickly and precisely.

Importing Work Environments/Shortcuts

As discussed in our last Lunch and Learn, it is best to rebuild your tool and palette schemes rather than bringing in an old Work Environment to AC20. Whenever you migrate an old W/E into a new version of AC, you run the risk of missing or locking yourself out of new features, or even relocated old features.

It is generally safe to bring in old keyboard shortcut schemes, but it is also a good time to evaluate what keyboard shortcuts you actually use. So here are 2 tips for keyboard shortcuts in your work environment.

  1. To check what your shortcuts are and evaluate wether you actually use them, go to your work environment and go to the Keyboard Shortcut Schemes section. In the bottom right corner of this W/E tab, you will see a button to show all shortcuts in a browser window. This can then be saved as a PDF or printed out for a thorough evaluation.Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 3.15.06 PM
  2. Tip 2, when importing a Work Environment, or portion of a W/E, you need to cancel the W/E search or it will just spin endlessly looking for W/E settings available anywhere on your computer or the network. When you click on Import… you will get a window that looks like this image below. This is usually where things start beach balling. If you hold the delete key for about 2 seconds it will cancel the search and allow you to browse for the Work Environment you need to import.Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 3.16.38 PM

Tabs in AC20

You may have noticed that tabs are a little different in AC20, as some have mentioned. The intent is that they are supposed to be a little more intuitive, and certainly are more flexible once you get the hang of them. Here are the key differences in this feature:

Eye Dropper/Inject View Settings

You can now use the same “pick-up/inject” parameters system used between all elements placed in ARCHICAD, for the view settings between tabs. Injecting the new tab with new parameters does not affect the View Settings, but only changes the viewpoint settings (like the project map navigation).

Injecting view settings into a tab will make that tap a Viewpoint, rather than a view. In order to revert back to the original view settings you need to navigate back to the View Map origin.

Double Click/Single Click Tabs

Double clicking the tab will still revert it back to its view, where single clicking will maintain any the previous Viewpoint settings. Single and double clicking tabs is one feature of the tabs that has changed most significantly. The big improvement here is that each tab, wether opened from the Project Map (Viewpoint) or View Map (View), each tab is able to retain its original view settings. This means that if you open a floor plan from the view map, then switch to a new view (3d, elevation, section), that view is not dependent on the previous tabs view settings.

This also means that navigating between tabs by shortcut does not maintain the current tab’s settings. To match a plan to 3d tab if they are not from views with matching settings, use the eye dropper/inject between tabs.

Right Clicking Tabs

In AC19, there were very limited right click options when clicking on a tab. Now, depending on the tab’s source (Project/View Map), and content, you will get a range of options. If the tab is a Viewpoint, you can actually search for saved views using that Viewpoint by right clicking on the tab. You can also open tabs with current windows settings, right click to get to Pick Up / Inject, and more.

As in AC19, you can still right click an open tab to show it as a trace reference for the currently open tab. There are several other options added to the right click drop downs, such as “Match all to Current” and “Get Last Settings”.

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One last minor feature of the tabs in 20 is the less alarming “!” symbol indicating that the View originally opened for that tab has changed and the tab is currently operating from a custom Viewpoint rather than a saved view setting.

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Work Environment Migration

I know we have covered this before, in various forms. But for anyone who has not been here for those, or needs a refresher, here is the “how to” on work environment migration. First, you should not bring in your work environment from a previous version of ARCHICAD. You can, but you will be missing quite a few new features and options critical to managing a quality BIM model.

So here is your step by step guide to setting up your work environment in ARCHICAD 20. Some of us are already using AC20, the rest should be migrated in a few short weeks (so bookmark this post for when you need it!).

Step 1: Bring in the WWA Standard W/E for 20

In ARCHICAD20 go to Options > Work Environment > Work Environment

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Fig 1.0 Work Environment Profiles

While on the Work Environment Profiles tab in the left column, click Import… on the right column (see Fig 1.0). Press and hold the delete key to cancel the Import Profile search (it will search your entire computer/network for available profiles).

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Fig. 2.0 Browse for Profiles

Click Browse… and go to the WW Server > 06 BIM Standards > 02 ArchiCAD Systems > 06 Work Environments > WWA20 and load that entire folder. Now back in the Work Environment Profiles tab (Fig 1.0), select the WWA Work Environment 20 from the profile options list, click Apply Schemes of Profile and Set as Default.

Step 2: Import and Apply Your Keyboard Shortcuts

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Fig. 3.0 Import Shortcut Profile

 

Now you can bring in your own keyboard shortcuts that you used in ARCHICAD19. In the left column of the Work Environment settings, click on Shortcut Schemes. Follow the steps from before, clicking on Import, Hold Delete, Browse for your shortcut scheme.

Lastly, go back to the Work Environment Profiles tab (Fig. 1.0, 3.0), select the applied work environment, and click Edit.

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Fig. 4.0 Apply Your Shortcuts to the Default Work Environment

In the Edit Profile manu, select the Short Cut Schemes line and apply your own short cuts to the work environment and click OK. Back in the Work Environment Settings, reapply the work environment to set your Keyboard Shortcuts as part of your default W/E.

Now that all that is applied, you should have all the palettes,dropdown menus and commands optimized for ARCHICAD20, which should look something like this:

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Fig. 5.0 WWA Work Environment 20

 

Advanced Object Placement

OK, that title may be a stretch. Placing an object is as simple as selecting it from the Object Tool Settings (the library folders), and clicking in the view it needs to be placed to. But there are some settings that can make placement a little more precise the first time, limiting or eliminating the need to rotate, move, or resize after placement.

First, you can define the insert point of the element. This is the point the element will be placed to when first dropped into the model.

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Insert Point Set to Rear Center of Object

Once the element settings are correct; for all attributes, size, elevation, information, layer, you can click ok to place the object. But there is one more step you can take to place the element multiple times ad different sizes and/or angles.

The Info Box Palette has a row of buttons that gives further control on how objects are placed.

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Object Geometry Method

Option 1 in the Info Box is a standard placement option that will place in the given rotation in the element settings.

Option 2 allows you to define a unique angle for each instance of the object being placed, when it is being placed.

Option 3 allows you to define a new X,Y dimension for the object graphically on the plan, based on the insertion point. This can work well for cabinet objects, tub, and shower objects or even furniture that needs to fit into a specific space.

Option 4 combines both options 1 and 2 into a three click placement to define rotation and size.

Go ahead and play around with these info box setting, and make sure you are aware of the insert point of the objects element settings before placing!